Introducing Raspberry!

IMG_1622Hi Saltines! I’m so excited to be a part of this community of strong, sassy, intelligent women runners! I discovered Salty Running when Cinnamon and Ginger covered the Olympic Marathon Trials. I was so impressed and relieved to find a community of real runners that celebrate women for their strengths and achievements … and who aren’t trying to convince me to stay away from the cheese platter or sell me an adorable bra with a hundred tangled back straps to wear to the local juice bar.

Salty Runners aren’t afraid to break a sweat, get a little dirty, and they don’t shy away from real issues that affect women in the running world. That’s the community I want to be a part of, and I’m so excited to grow the West Coast contingent and bring some California love to the mix.

I’m a native California girl who wears flip flops year round, but I’d rather be in the mountains than on the beach. I grew up in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and currently reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a middle school teacher I spend as much of my summertime as possible running, cycling, backpacking, camping or lounging lakeside with a cold brew. Why did I choose Raspberry for my Salty name? Cinnamon-colored black bears (native to the Sierras, of course) might just be my spirit animal, and since Cinnamon is the OG Saltine, I took the next best option. What do bears forage that grow abundantly in California? Berries!

Averse to team sports, most of my family got into distance running when I was young. We lived about 30 minutes south of Auburn, trail runners’ mecca, and the location of the Western States 100 finish line. I had a strange fascination with this race even though I whined and moaned about running two miles in high school cross country. I had no idea how anyone physically ran 100 miles, but it just sounded so freaking cool. I naively told people that I’d run Western States someday, half-joking but secretly serious, completely unready and unwilling to even consider the commitment required.

A sporadic runner during college, I didn’t get serious until 2009, when, at age 26, I felt like my 20s were not panning out the way I had expected. I had developed some unhealthy lifestyle habits and was feeling lazy and anxious. Other than teaching, I hadn’t found my niche. My mom encouraged me to join Team in Training, which turned out to provide the perfect amount of support and ass-kicking that I needed.

I clearly remember my first training run: three painfully slow and hot run/walk miles. I’m not sure why I didn’t quit; I always quit when things got tough. I think I was simply ready for a change in my life and I wanted to convince myself that I could stick something out. A lot of my “friends” doubted me, but I held onto the notion that I used to be a quasi-runner, and I came from a running family, so I just needed to toughen up.

Training for my first marathon was hard. I was slow. My legs ached. My feet blistered. I lost toenails. My mind wouldn’t shut up about how uncomfortable I felt. I remember my anxiety on my first double-digit mile run, a huge mental hurdle. But I kept going and truly I owe that to the relationships I forged with my teammates. We were going through something life-changing together. And they made it fun! Without them, I’m certain I would have quit.

Xmas w: P
The peanut butter to my raspberry jam.

During my first marathon I cried at mile 17, not because I was scared or in pain, but because I felt like I had pushed myself through the fog of apathy and insecurity that was my early 20s. Not only was I a runner, but a marathoner. I’m still insecure and anxious at times, but I’ve learned to shut my mind off when I run. The confidence I’ve gained through running has bled into other areas of my life: I’m happier around friends, I’m better at my job, and I met the person I want to spend my life with.

I ran my second marathon eight months later, bettered my time by an hour, and solidified my addiction. I joined a local running group, the Napa Valley Vinerunners, who are now some of my best friends and understand 100% what running does for me, and I haven’t looked back since. Running is part of who I am now, and I’m no longer afraid to set some crazy goals and anticipate the long miles ahead (metaphor for life). I definitely still have my eyes set on Western States… this time with more clarity.

I’m currently training for my first 50-mile race, and I can’t wait to share my experiences with the Salty Running community!

A teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area who loves trail running, backpacking and cycling. Having grown up in the Sierra Nevada foothills, I secretly aspire to run Western States 100 someday. Realizing it might not be as crazy as it sounds (maybe it is), I am currently training for my next ultra.

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16 comments

  1. Welcome! I’m looking forward to learning more about you and following along with your Ultra training! I have never done one but I admire the dedication and persistence it takes to run that long! Maybe one day I’ll venture beyond a marathon! Also, having just spent 5 days in the mountains…I can’t blame you for missing it and loving trails!

  2. Welcome Raspberry! I love your story! I’ve also followed the Western States race a bit, but will admit I do not have the same desire to run it. 🙂

    Looking forward to following your ultra journey!!

  3. Hooray for middle school teachers! Going to watch Western States is a new dream of mine. So cool that you’ve been there so many times!

    1. Horray for summer vacation! While I grew up there and have been on the trails, I haven’t actually ever been there on race day. But, I’m going this year to watch the finish line!